Christian Science was a new religious movement in the United States in the latter half of the 19th century. Christian Scientists are best known for their rejection of medical care, the sect’s founder Mary Baker Eddy, and the Church’s seemingly omnipresent Reading Rooms.
From Matt Slick / CARM comes this introduction of the doctrines of Christian Scientists:
Of all the biblically-based cults in America today, Christian Science is one of the most interesting. Not only does it deny the essential doctrines of Christianity but also it has completely reinterpreted the Bible. It drastically redefines the Bible’s culture and terminology and rips thousands of scriptures out of their historical and biblical contexts. The result is a non-Christian mixture of metaphysical and philosophical thoughts. Christian Science is so foreign to the Bible that if it didn’t use words like Jesus, Trinity, Love, Grace, Sin, etc., you’d never suspect it had anything to do with the Bible at all. Additionally, the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which is the Christian Scientist’s mainstay of spiritual knowledge, reads with a rhythm of pseudo-logical statements that has the tendency to dull the senses when read long enough. Is Christian Science Christian? Definitely not.
Here are just a few belief-highlights of Christian Scientists:
- Incarnations: We are all sons/daughters of God, though not at the level of understanding of Christ Jesus. Jesus was a divine Exemplar, and Christ is the divine idea of “sonship”–the Master. Jesus showed the way (the “wayshower”) for all to realize Truth, which is God. (Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/2001/06/what-christian-scientists-believe.aspx#vHocSTr7mIm5bh28.99)
- About Salvation: Salvation lies in bringing oneself into harmony with one’s true nature as God’s reflection, through good works, patience, meekness, love, watchfulness, prayerful gratitude, devout obedience in following Christ’s example. There are two basic commandments: that one turn only to God, perfect Mind, for guidance–the Mind that was also in Christ; and that one “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Healing and immortality are realized by becoming conscious that the only true reality is God, which is Love, and that one’s true and only nature is in God’s likeness. As one realizes the error of belief in the reality of suffering and evil, these images of thought impressed upon the mortal mind can be altered, thus banishing sickness, death, and sin–testimony to the power of faith in God, of Mind over matter.
- Origin of Universe and Life: The universe and humans are reflections of God’s likeness and image, which is Spirit–without beginning or end. Illusions, or delusions, of a material world and material body result from error in thought and ignorance of the true and only nature of reality, which is spiritual. God is all that truly exists.
- After Death: Death is the belief in death. There is no death as humans are immortal spirit. After that which we call “death,” spiritual development toward Truth continues until all evil, or “error,” destroys itself. Heaven and hell are not places, but states of consciousness that continue after death. “Heaven” is the self-made eternal bliss of realizing oneness with God.
- About Hell: “Hell” is the self-made anguish of believing in pain and death.
- About Evil: Evil is the belief in evil. God is all that is real and God is completely good; therefore, good is real and evil is an illusion/delusion. The only power evil has is to destroy itself; attempts to destroy good naturally result in punishment for the evildoer. Sin creates its own hell. Not realizing one’s true nature as spirit results in selfishness, which can lead to error and disharmony.
- Undeserved Suffering: Though appearing real, suffering (and illness) is a false belief or error of mortal thought. Suffering is overcome by asserting the truth of one’s being as an idea of God. Often, a trained Christian Science practitioner is called to support the patient’s thought through prayerfully “knowing the truth.”